Gordon E. Brown, Jr. is the D.W. Kirby Professor of Earth Sciences in the Department of Geological Sciences, School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, and Professor of Photon Science, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, as well as Professor (by courtesy) of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University. A member of the Stanford faculty since 1973, he has served as Chair of the Department of Geological & Environmental Sciences (1986-1992; 2011-present), Co-Director of the Stanford-NSF Center for Materials Research (1987-1989), Chair of the Department of Photon Science, SLAC (1998-2007), and Director of the Stanford-NSF Environmental Molecular Science Institute (2004-2011). The research of Brown and his students/ postdocs has focused on molecular-level problems in geochemistry, mineralogy, and environmental chemistry ranging from x-ray diffraction studies of mineral structures as a function of temperature, x-ray scattering and synchrotron x-ray absorption spectroscopy studies of silicate glasses and liquids at high temperature, and synchrotron x-ray scattering and spectroscopic studies of structure/property relationships of natural and manufactured nanoparticles to molecular-level spectroscopic studies of chemical and microbial interactions on metal oxide surfaces (including CO2/metal oxide surface interactions), the speciation and transformations of heavy metal and radionuclide contaminants in complex environmental samples, the release/sequestration of toxic trace metals during the burning of fossil fuels, and mineral carbonation reactions as a means of sequestering CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels. Results of these studies have been published in 375 peer-reviewed articles, which have been cited over 14,000 times (h-index = 71). In addition, Brown has presented over 225 invited and plenary lectures at national and international meetings and universities.
Brown and his research group pioneered the use of extremely intense radiation from synchrotron light sources beginning over 37 years ago to address the types of problems listed above. He has mentored 35 Ph.D., 13 M.S. students, and 32 post-doctoral students at Stanford and Princeton. Brown has received awards from the Mineralogical Society of America (Roebling Medal in 2007 for “lifetime achievement in mineralogy and geochemistry”), the Geochemical Society (Patterson Medal in 2007 for “an innovative breakthrough in environmental geochemistry of fundamental significance”), the Mineralogical Association of Canada (Hawley Medal in 2007 for a publication in Canadian Mineralogist on silicate liquids), and the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (2007 Best Paper Award in recognition of “a landmark environmental engineering paper that has withstood the test of time and significantly influenced the practice of environmental engineering”). He also received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Paris 7 in 1997 and was awarded the Ian Campbell Medal from the American Geosciences Institute in 2012 for “superlative performance in and contributions to the geosciences”. He was elected a foreign fellow of Academia Europaea in 2013. In addition, he is a Fellow of the AAAS (2000), the Geochemical Society (1999), the European Association of Geochemistry (1999), the Geological Society of America (1997), and the Mineralogical Society of America (1975). Brown is currently a member of the US-DOE-Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. He received his Ph.D. in Mineralogy/Crystallography from Virginia Tech in 1970 and was a post-doctoral fellow at SUNY Stony Brook in 1970-71, where he performed mineralogical studies of returned lunar samples from the Apollo 11, 12, 14, and 15 missions. Prior to moving to Stanford in 1973, he was on the faculty at Princeton University.